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Herbs & Plants

Indian Almond (Terminalia catappa)

Botanical Name :Terminalia catappa
Family: Combretaceae
Genus: Terminalia
Species: T. catappa
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Myrtales

Common Names:Desi Badam, Bengal almond, Singapore almond , Ebelebo, Malabar almond, Indian almond, Tropical almond, Sea almond, Beach Almond, Talisay tree, Umbrella tree, Abrofo Nkatie (Akan),

Habitat :The tree has been spread widely by humans and the native range is uncertain. It has long been naturalised in a broad belt extending from Africa to Northern Australia and New Guinea through Southeast Asia and Micronesia into the Indian Subcontinent.

Description:
Terminalia catappa is a large tropical tree in the Leadwood tree family, Combretaceae.It grows to 35 metres (115 ft) tall, with an upright, symmetrical crown and horizontal branches. The Terminalia catappa has corky, light fruit that is dispersed by water. The nut within the fruit is edible when fully ripe,tasting almost like almond. As the tree gets older, its crown becomes more flattened to form a spreading, vase shape. Its branches are distinctively arranged in tiers. The leaves are large, 15–25 centimetres (5.9–9.8 in) long and 10–14 centimetres (3.9–5.5 in) broad, ovoid, glossy dark green and leathery. They are dry-season deciduous; before falling, they turn pinkish-reddish or yellow-brown, due to pigments such as violaxanthin, lutein, and zeaxanthin.

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The flowers are monoecious, with distinct male and female flowers on the same tree. Both are 1 centimetre (0.39 in) in diameter, white to greenish, inconspicuous with no petals; they are produced on axillary or terminal spikes. The fruit is a drupe 5–7 centimetres (2.0–2.8 in) long and 3–5.5 centimetres (1.2–2.2 in) broad, green at first, then yellow and finally red when ripe, containing a single seed

Cultivation:Terminalia catappa  is grown in tropical countries all over the world.

Edible Uses:
The fruit is edible, tasting slightly acidic.

Chemical Constituents:
The leaves contain several flavonoids (like kaempferol or quercetin), several tannins (such as punicalin, punicalagin or tercatin), saponines and phytosterols. Due to this chemical richness, the leaves (and also the bark) are used in different traditional medicines for various purposes. For instances, in Taiwan fallen leaves are used as a herb to treat liver diseases. In Suriname, a tea made from the leaves is prescribed against dysentery and diarrhea. It is also thought that the leaves contain agents for prevention of cancers (although they have no demonstrated anticarcinogenic properties) and antioxidant as well as anticlastogenic characteristics.

Medicinal Uses;
Extracts from the leaves and bark of the plant have proven anticarcinogenic, anti-HIV and hepatoprotective properties (liver regenerating effects), including anti-diabetic effects.  The leaves and bark have been used traditionally in the South Pacific, for fungal related conditions.  It may be potentially beneficial for overall immune support, liver detoxification and antioxidant support.  The leaves contain agents for chemo-prevention of cancer and probably have anticarciogenic potential.  They also have a anticlastogenic effect (a process which causes breaks in chromosomes) due to their antioxidant properties. The kernel of Indian almond has shown aphrodisiac activity; it can probably be used in treatment of some forms of sexual inadequacies (premature ejaculation). Ethanol extract of the leaves shown potential in the treatment of sickle cell disorders. It appears as an anti-sickling agent for those that suffer from sickle cell.  It has been shown to be of benefit for microbial balancing.; as an aid to lowering high blood pressure and stress; as a treatment for some forms of liver disorders; as an aid in reducing the effect of several heart conditions .  In Asia it has long been known that the leaves of contain a toxic, secondary metabolite, which has antibacterial properties.
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From other countries: the leaves, bark and fruits are used for dysentery in Southeast Asia; dressing for rheumatic joints in Indonesia and India; the fruits and bark are a remedy for coughs in Samoa) and  asthma in Mexico; the fruits treat leprosy and  headaches in India and motion sickness in Mexico; the leaves eliminate intestinal parasites in the Philippines and treat eye problems, rheumatism and wounds in Samoa while they’re used to  stop bleeding during teeth extraction in Mexico; fallen leaves are used to treat liver diseases in Taiwan, and young leaves for colic in South America; the juice of the leaves is used for scabies, skin diseases and leprosy in India and Pakistan; the bark is a remedy for throat and mouth problems, stomach upsets and diarrhea in Samoa and for fever and dysentery in Brazil.

Other Uses:
The wood is red, solid and has high water resistance; it has been utilized in Polynesia for making canoes. In Tamil, almond is known “Nattuvadumai”.
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Keeping the leaves in an aquarium is said to lower the pH and heavy metal content of the water. It has been utilized in this way by Betta breeders in Thailand for many years. It’s also believed that it helps prevent fungus forming on the eggs of the fish.. Local hobbyists also use it for conditioning the betta’s water for breeding and hardening of the scales.
Terminalia catappa is widely grown in tropical regions of the world as an ornamental tree, grown for the deep shade its large leaves provide.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terminalia_catappa

http://www.backyardnature.net/yucatan/almond-t.htm

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Herbs & Plants

Gudmar / madhunasini

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Botanical Name:Asclapias geminata Roxb/Periploca Sylvastris Retz
Family : Apocynaceae
Subfamily: Asclepiadoideae
Tribe : Marsdenieae
Gender : Gymnema
Species : G. sylvestris
Division :  Magnoliophyta
Class : Magnoliopsida
Subclass:  Asterids
Order :  Gentianales

Synonyms: Periploca sylvestris Willd., Gymnema melicida Edgew.

Common Name:
English :Suger destroyer,Periploca of the wood
Sanskrit:Mesasrngi,Ajaballi, Ajagandini, Ajashringi, Bahalchakshu, Chakshurabahala, Grihadruma, Karnika, Kshinavartta, Madhunasini, Medhasingi, Meshashringi, Meshavishanika, Netaushadhi, Putrashringi, Sarpadanshtrika, Tiktadughdha, Vishani.
Local Indian Names :
Hindi– Gur-mar, merasingi; Bengali- Mera-singi; Marathi– Kavali, kalikardori, vakundi; Gujarati– Dhuleti, mardashingi; Telugu- Podapatri; Tamil- Adigam, cherukurinja; Kannada– Sannager-asehambu; Malyalam– Cakkarakkolli, Madhunashini.

Parts Used: Leaves

Habitat:
Preferentially grows in forests and secondary open scrub and is in heights up to 1000-1200 meters .  It is especially distributed in the monsoon forests and, less frequently, has reached parts of Oceania and America .  It is located in Asia especially in India , in the tropical forests of central and southern Iraq, in Western Ghats is a mountain range that lies west of India and in the territory of Goa .  It also grows in Japan , Sri Lanka , Vietnam , Taiwan and some provinces of China in Fujian , Guangxi , Hainan , Yunnan and Zhejiang .  Less commonly can be found in South Africa .

Description:
Large climbers,rooting at nodes,leaves elliptic,acuminate,base acute to acuminate, glabrous above sparsely or densely tomentose beneath. Flowers small, in axillary and lateral umbel like cymes, pedicels long. Calyz-lobes long, ovate,obtuse,pubescent. Corolla pale yellow campalute,valvate, corona single with 5 fleshy scales. Scales adnate to throat of corolla tube between lobes. Anther connective produced into a membranous tip, pollima2,erect,carpels 2, unilocular; loculus many ovulated. Follicle long,fusiform.

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Extensive, much-branched, twining shrubs. Leaves 3-6 x 2-3 cm, ovate or elliptic-oblong, apiculate, rounded at base, sub-coriaceous. Flowers minute, greenish-yellow, spirally arranged in lateral pedunculate or nearly sessile cymes. Corolla lobes imbricate. Follicles solitary, upto 8 x 0.7 cm, terete, lanceolate, straight or slightly curved, glabrous. Seeds ovate-oblong, glabrous, winged, brown. Flowering: August-March; Fruiting: Winter.

Madhunashini is an evergreen climber and the best season for planting is June-July. After the ploughing and leveling of the land, 45 cm3 sized pits are made at a distance of 2.5 m between the rows and 1.75 m between plants (within the row). The pits are dug open 15 days earlier to planting, they are filled with green leaves and top soil and 2 kgs of well rotten manure per pit is added. The pits are to be irrigated and left for one week, then the rooted cuttings are planted in the pits.

HARVESTING AND YIELD
The crop is ready for harvest two years after planting. Leaves are the economic part and the harvesting of the leaves begins when plants start flowering i.e., during end of June or first week of July. Leaves can be harvested along with flowers either by hand or can be cut with sickle/knife. The harvest leaves are dried under shade by allowing sufficient air to circulate by spreading thinly on clear ground for about7-8 days. Direct sunlight should be avoided to maintain the quality of the leaves.

The crop is harvested only once in a year during flowering and on an average 5-6 kg dried leaves per plant can be obtained from a 4 years old plant yielding about 10,000 – 15,000 kgs of dried leaves per hectare. The crop can be cultivated for 10-15 years under good management.

Chemical Composition:
The leaves contain hentriacontane, pentatriacontane, a-and ß-chlorophylls, phytin, resins, tartaric acid, formic acid, butyric acid, anthraqui-none derivatives, inositol, d -quercitol and “gymnemic acid”. The leaves give positive tests for alkaloids. Flavonol glycosides, kaempferol and quercetin have been isolated from the aerial parts of the plant (Liu et al., 2004). Three new oleanane-type triterpene glycosides were isolated from the leaves of the plant. Six oleanane-type saponins (Ye et al., 2000, 2001). Few new tritepenoid saponins, gymnemasins A, B, C and D were also isolated from the leaves of Gymnema sylvestre (Suttisri et al., 1995, Sahu et al., 1996).

Medicinal Property & Uses:  The plant is stomachic, stimulant, laxative and diuretic. It is good in cough, biliousness and sore eyes. If the leaves of the plant are chewed, the sense of taste for sweet and bitter substances is suppressed (Gent, 1999, Persaud et al., 1999, Intelegen, 2004). The leaves are said to be used as a remedy for diabetes (Prakash et al., 1986; Shanmugasundaram et al., 1990; Grover et al., 2002; Gholap & Kar, 2003}. It has been included among the most important herbs for all doshas (Mhasker & Caius, 1930; Holistic, 2004). It has shown effective activity against Bacillus pumilis, B. subtilis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus (Satdive et al., 2003). Tribals in Chhindi rub the leaves on infected body parts to cure infections.

The leaf powder is tasteless with a faint pleasant aromatic odour. It stimulates the heart and the circulatory system, increases the secretion of urine, and activates the uterus. Tribals of Central India prepare decoctions of Methi/ fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum), Gudmar (Gymnema sylvestre), Arjuna (Terminalia arjuna), Ajwan (Trachyspermum ammi), gokshura (Tribulus terrestris), vayu-vidanga (Embelia ribes), Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia), Harra (Terminalia chebula), and chitrak (Plumbago zeylanica) to cure diabetes and stress related disorders.

Traditional healers from various states of India use this plant in various ailments. Leaf is given in gastric troubles in Rajasthan. Traditional healers of Maharastra prescribe it in urinary problems and stomachache whereas in Madhya Pradesh, tribals and local healers apply the leaf extract in cornea opacity and other eye diseases. In Andhra Pradesh it is used in glycosuria.

In Indian Ayurveda it is mainly used in the treatment of Diabetes, hydrocil & Asthama.

Few important companies in Product Manufacturing:

Active Ingredients Group., Inc., China

Amitco International Botanical & Nutritional Division, USA

Camden-Grey Essential Oils, Miami, USA.

Christina’s Body & Fitness, USA

Dabur, India

Himalaya Herbals, India

Natural Remedies Pvt. Ltd. India

Philly Pharmacy, USA

S&D Chemicals (Canada) Ltd. Canada

Concluding Remarks:

It is the need of the hour to save this highly important medicinal plant of Patalkot valley. If proper initiatives would not be taken in time, there would not be single Gymnema plant in the valley. It is urged to the scientists, conservationists, researchers, NGO’s and other bodies to come forward and take moves to protect this important herb. Local farmers should be encouraged to cultivate this herb. Government and policy makers are having lots of plans/ ideas but they find problems in proper implementations. It is the youth and people from literate world who should come forward to take this task in their hands.

 Other uses: Alcoholic extract has a dry leaves showing antibacterial activity against Bacillus pumilus , Bacillus subtilis , Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus .

Caution:    If the indicated amounts are used, ie no more than 400mg per day is generally safe, well tolerated and no side effects.  During pregnancy and lactation has not been determined whether or not there may be side effects.  Still, it is recommended to consult a medical practitioner before taking Gymnema extract diabetic children and elderly.  Contraindicated if used in combination with oral hypoglycemic drugs.  Be careful when taking gymnema with glipizide, glyburide and insulin.

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:

Click to access GYMNEMA.pdf


http://horticulture.kar.nic.in/APMAC_website_files/madhunasini.htm
http://www.disabled-world.com/artman/publish/gymnema.shtml
http://www.sacredearth.com/ethnobotany/plantprofiles/Gymnea.php
http://www.orissafdc.com/products_medicinal_plants.php

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